Modern History PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

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Modern History is a large and developing field and here at Birmingham, we have over 20 staff working at the forefront of current research, covering a wide range of British and European history from around 1500 to the present. Areas of expertise include religion, war studies, the history of the West Midlands, the history of sexuality and emotion and of the environment.  We’re also expanding expertise in the history of race and global histories and welcome enquiries concerning possible research topics.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Distance learning, doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MA by Research – 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date: January 2014, September 2014

Contact

Research degrees are best planned by individual discussion, so if you have a particular subject area in mind, please contact the staff member you deem to be most suitable for advice on formulating research proposals. See the ‘Research interests' for more information on individual staff research interests.

Head of Postgraduate Studies (PGR) – Dr William Purkis

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5755.

Details

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision.

The PhD – the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff. You can study for a PhD on campus or by Distance Learning.

Current research topics range from questions such as how England became a Protestant nation in the 16th century to why smoking played such an important role in 20th century life. Whatever your interest, whether it is cultural or social history, military or political history, economic or religious history, there is someone available to supervise your research.

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

Why study this course

Sam Humphries "I chose the Masters Research programme as it gave me the chance to pursue my own research project within a lively, resourceful and respected academic department. It combined the necessary taught elements and group discussion to hone and develop my academic research skills alongside working independently to make my project happen.

The course however offered lots more than I hoped for. It taught me crucial methodological understandings about how historians work and how to deploy and engage with them in my own research. These modules, alongside the fellow students and staff in the Centre, changed my work and approach to the subject for the better in ways I could not have conceived beforehand, changing my project fundamentally. The environment with passionate individuals each able to help you with your work has been immensely rewarding.

The course also helps develop the ability to work autonomously and critically assess your own standards and approaches to the subject. It is tough yet immensely rewarding as it offers up opportunities that would never have materialised otherwise. The Masters Research programme helped me pursue my interest in history further alongside helping me to think creatively and to apply these ideas to my work and life.”

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2014/15 are currently as follows:

  • Home / EU £3,996 full-time; £1,998 part-time
  • Overseas: £12,565 full-time; £6,282.50 part-time

Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

 

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

For applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode only:

As part of the application process for the distance learning study mode, we will ask you to provide evidence to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study for a PhD by Distance Learning. Please be prepared to provide evidence, and details, of the following:

  • Examples of your postgraduate research experience and ability to work independently e.g. papers/presentations at professional and academic conferences or publications in professional journals or previous completion of an independent research project, etc.
  • Full reasons (academic and personal) for registering for the distance learning mode of study rather than by standard full or part-time on-campus options. In particular, how you will be able to carry out your project in your chosen location.
  • Access to local library facilities (where needed)
  • Access to IT facilities
  • Access to communications, including e-mail and visual communication media e.g. Skype and Facetime
  • Access to facilities to support any study-related disability (where appropriate)

You can upload this information at the time of application - when asked to provide supporting documentation - or via your applicant portal once you have submitted your application.

For all applicants:

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Contact

Research degrees are best planned by individual discussion, so if you have a particular subject area in mind, please contact the staff member you deem to be most suitable for advice on formulating research proposals. See the ‘Research interests' for more information on individual staff research interests.

Head of Postgraduate Studies (PGR) – Dr William Purkis

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5755.

Research interests of staff

  • British and German Armies
    Contact: Dr Jonathan Boff
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5512
    Email: j.f.boff@bham.ac.uk
  • British 20th-century political history
    Contact: Professor Nicholas Crowson
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5485
    Email: n.j.crowson@bham.ac.uk
  • Society and politics of 17th-century England
    Contact: Professor Richard Cust
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5764
    Email: r.p.cust@bham.ac.uk
  • History of the West Midlands since 1700
    Contact: Dr Malcolm Dick
    Tel: +44 (0)121 4158253
    Email: m.m.dick@bham.ac.uk
  • Counter-Reformation belief and politics
    Contact: Dr Elaine Fulton
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6632
    Email: e.k.fulton@bham.ac.uk
  • History of Nineteenth Century Britain
    Contact: Dr David Gange
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5665
    Email: d.j.gange@bham.ac.uk
  • Air power: history, theory and practice
    Contact: Air Cdre (Ret’d)
    Dr Peter Gray Tel: +44 (0)121 414 8423
    Email: w.gray@bham.ac.uk
  • The British economy in the 20th century
    Contact: Dr Julian Greaves
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5760
    Email: j.l.greaves@bham.ac.uk
  • German history since 1870
    Contact: Dr Armin Grünbacher
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5759
    Email: a.gruenbacher@bham.ac.uk
  • Art and material culture of early modern Britain
    Contact: Dr Tara Hamling
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9510
    Email: t.j.hamling@bham.ac.uk
  • Modern British social history
    Contact: Professor Matthew Hilton
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7697
    Email: m.j.hilton@bham.ac.uk
  • French social and political history
    Contact: Professor Peter Jones
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5746
    Email: p.m.jones@bham.ac.uk
  • British–German relations since 1945
    Contact: Dr Sabine Lee
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5736
    Email: s.lee@bham.ac.uk
  • 17th-and 18th-century European history
    Contact: Professor Jerzy Lukowski
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5742
    Email: j.t.lukowski@bham.ac.uk
  • 19th–20th century European history; environmental history
    Contact: Professor Corey Ross
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5757
    Email: c.d.ross@bham.ac.uk
  • Race and Immigration
    Contact: Professor Gavin Schaffer
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6629
    Email: g.schaffer@bham.ac.uk
  • Early Modern European exploration, expansion and colonisation
    Contact: Dr Margaret Small
    Tel: +44 (0)121 4145501
    Email: m.small@bham.ac.uk
  • History of religion in the British Army
    Contact: Dr Mike Snape
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3405
    Email: m.f.snape@bham.ac.uk
  • Economic History 
    Contact: Dr Jelle van Lottum
    Email: j.vanlottum@bham.ac.uk

Related research

Contact

Research degrees are best planned by individual discussion, so if you have a particular subject area in mind, please contact the staff member you deem to be most suitable for advice on formulating research proposals. See the ‘Research interests' for more information on individual staff research interests.

Head of Postgraduate Studies (PGR) – Dr William Purkis

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5755.

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Our History graduates develop a range of skills including, familiarity with research methods, the ability to manage large and diverse quantities of information, and the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines, which can be used in a variety of occupations. A snapshot of graduate destinations over a five-year period has identified a variety of career paths, from journalism, to accounting, to lecturing. Over the past five years, over 94 per cent of our History postgraduates have been in work and/or further study six months after graduation.

Contact

Research degrees are best planned by individual discussion, so if you have a particular subject area in mind, please contact the staff member you deem to be most suitable for advice on formulating research proposals. See the ‘Research interests' for more information on individual staff research interests.

Head of Postgraduate Studies (PGR) – Dr William Purkis

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5755.